MOBA Of Sauron: The Guardians of Middle-earth

By Craig Pearson on August 16th, 2013 at 8:00 am.


Popular culture is slowly dripping into the MOBA genre. It’s remained fairly resistant to the wider world until now (probably because the wider world is a noob and was shouted at until it logged off), and I can only think of DC’s Infinite Crisis as an interloper from elsewhere. Now it’s time for Tolkien’s Middle-earth to form some lanes and take on Dota 2 and LoL: Guardians of Middle-earth, a console-based MOBA from Monolith, is coming to the PC this month. I have a trailer.

You can buy it as a full whack, or just the base and build up your hero deck through playing it or spending in-game currency. The six maps will drop you into places like The Shire and Mirkwood. PC treats will include match-streaming (via Raptr), and some exclusive skins. And how much for all this? You’d think that the prevailing winds would steer them into making a free-to-play game. You’d be wrong.

Guardians of Middle-earth for PC will be available at multiple purchase levels: the base game for £14.99 which includes playable, immediately unlocked Guardians Gandalf, Galadriel, Thráin, Gollum, Hildifons and Legolas and their alternate skins, and the Mithril Edition for £60.99 which includes all 36 playable Guardians, 36 alternate skins, the Mithril Guardian Relic and a buddy key. The 36 alternate Guardian skins will be available for purchase in class-specific bundles which include five Guardians and their five alternate skins for £11.99. In addition, gamers can purchase Smaug’s Treasure, which includes in-game currency and Smaug’s Greed Relic for £6.99.

I can’t imagine why you’d charge for a game of this type when the two tent-pole releases are free-to-play and absolutely rolling in money. Particularly when the thing is a port, and not an original title. By all accounts it’s a decent game, and it managed to take the complexities of MOBAs and squeeze them neatly onto a joypad. But even with the one name to rule them all, I worry it’ll struggle to grow an audience.

It’s out August 29th.

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62 Comments »

  1. Unrepentant says:

    Galadriel? Fighting? Isn’t that antithetical to her character?

    • Flopper says:

      “Ground breaking MOBA action.”

      ……The same as every other MOBA action.

    • Jannakar says:

      Actually, not really.

      If you look at the other books, she was quite the amazon and one of the first across the Helcaraxe with Feanor after the Simarils.

      But then, Tolkien himself chnged his mind about Galadriel over the years, putting her on a pedestal with Luthien as his idea of perfection.

      • Unrepentant says:

        I will admit it’s been several years since i read either the Silmarillion or The Lord of The Rings. I was more going off her character in Fellowship, not the deep lore in the Silmarillion. She seemed to be the wise woman temporarily tempted by greater power, and since Tolkein seems to have a take on magic that emotions and unique individuals shape the area in which they live (i.e. Lothlorien, RIvendell, Mordor) I saw her as of the events of LotR as more aged and wise than her earlier more reckless actions would indicate. I guess it’s just differing interpretations of the character.

    • Tei says:

      Have you watched the movies or read the books? Galadriel is more scary than Sauron by a wide margin. Only when the ring was offered to her, we are allowed to see a glimpse of his power and true self.

    • Wulfram says:

      Galadriel took down Dol Goldur, didn’t she?

  2. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    Ooh, ooh! Pedantry excuse! Infinite Crisis is DC, not Marvel.

    There, my existence is now validated. :)

  3. Spacewalk says:

    Staring eyes? He can’t even see where he’s going.

  4. bstard says:

    One does not simply stagger into the mid lane.

  5. ZIGS says:

    While we’re waiting for NOLF 3, Monolith is doing this… oh, and the game is gonna fail hard, mark my words

  6. Zogtee says:

    Gandalf, Galadriel, and… Hildifons? Who is this person?

  7. Detrian says:

    Entry price plus having to unlock heroes? Going to bomb horribly.

    Honestly I don’t know why they bothered considering it didn’t do that great on consoles either.

  8. Jockie says:

    I’d probably try it out of curiousity if it were F2P, leaving the possibility of being converted and reeled in.

    But at £15, ain’t gonna happen. Bizarre business decision.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > leaving the possibility of being converted and reeled in.

      F2P is the Pudge Meat Hook of the gaming world. Keep some Indie games between it and you at all times to avoid getting snagged and pulled into its reeking embrace.

  9. Dariush says:

    Oh, I’m sure millions of people will pick a paid brand-new cashgrab that goes against the lore and logic of a well-established universe over highly balanced free LoL or Dota with millions already playing them. I mean, why wouldn’t they?

    • Syra says:

      If it was free, and I actually wanted to play a MOBA, I would get this over those, on account of those having too many characters to learn how to deal with and rubbish communities (not saying this has better). I actually like the backdrop of LOTR, this is how goodwill from an established brand works!

      If I was making one, it would be a 40k MOBA. Third person like SMITE, this top down awkward, unresponsive clicky nonsense has gone too far! If you could only WASD your guys… Yeah InB4 someone does that and takes all my potential moneys.

      • dagudman says:

        Top down isn’t unresponsive…

      • RedWurm says:

        I would totally play a 40k-themed Smitey thing. I may even be tempted to pay money for it.

      • Magnusm1 says:

        Calling top-down unresponsive is just ignorant.

      • arccos says:

        Just from another point of view, the community of Dota 2 is a lot better than it gets credit for, really. Ever since it went live it seems to be pretty welcoming.

        Keep away from the Steam forums, of course, as they are the cesspool that usually exists in Steam forums.

        I do agree that MOBAs need some serious improvement (or at least variety) in interface design.

  10. Phinor says:

    I tried the demo on consoles and it was enjoyable enough for me to be interested in this PC version. That is, if the pricing wasn’t as insane as it is. 74 euros for the full version isn’t exactly what I was planning to pay for a MOBA.

  11. tnzk says:

    Can someone explain to the rest of us what the flying fuck happened to Monolith?

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      WB switched their goals for them. A lot of people left. The end.

  12. yxxxx says:

    I got this free earlier this year with my playstation plus subscription. The kids have been loving it and playing it an awful lot. It does seem pretty good although I think they should have had a rethink over their pricing structure for PC.

    They can get away with it on console and I would go as far as to say it is actually worth the money seeing as how much enjoyment the kids have gotten out of it. But there is so much more competition on pc in this genre and that competition is free, I just dont know how its going to fair and thats a shame.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    £60.99 ?!
    WHAT THE HECK!?
    Do they realize that DOTA2 is FREE? With all heroes included?

  14. mpk says:

    The really sad thing is that there are people out there who will pay the full £61 fee, thereby justifying it in the eyes of the publishers.

    Regardless of the quality of the game, the best thing that could happen – from a consumer’s point of view – is that it crashes and burns spectacularly.

  15. BurningPet says:

    Is it a sin that one of my favourite games is “the battle for middle earth”? yeah it was kinda simplistic in its “Risk” like campaign chooser, it was pretty linear to the point that if you took a wrong path you could not win in the end game due to your heroes being too weak, but it was really charming and managed to capture the feel of the movies.

    Anyway, as i played it, i kept thinking it could somewhat work as a DOTA like game (more precisely Aeon of Strife like)., but that it should never be done.

    Also, i refuse calling this genre in the name an “allegedly” pedophile gave it. by doing so you are enforcing his importance.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Hey, I like(d) Mark of Chaos, so we all have our faults, right? :oP

  16. ZHsquad says:

    Another MOBA? Can we get another really good RPG or something? Somebody? No?

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Nooooooooooo everyone wants to play mobas! mobas mobas mobas! We can’t get enough of them! I want to live and breath mobaaaaaaaa!!! If I can’t be in a different moba every twenty minutes then my life is worthless!!! /s

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > Can we get another really good RPG or something? Somebody? No?

      You’ve got Wasteland 2, Project: Eternity, Torment: Numenera, Dead State, Age of Decadence, Might & Magic X, Dragon Age 3, Dark Souls 2, Unrest, Divinity: Original Sin, South Park, Witcher 3, Eschalon: Book 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Obsidian’s un-announced next-gen project, Mass Effect 4, and probably even more I’ve forgotten about on the way. Plus Shadowrun was just released which I thought was pretty good apart from the linearity.

      Personally I think us RPG fans have it good now.

      • ZHsquad says:

        Notice that I said “really good RPG”. Mass Effect 1 was good. DA was terrible. Witcher? Please no. Torment: Numenera is the only good thing on that list. I want real story. Real reactions. Not these wet bags of gameplay.

    • mpk says:

      Just be glad Bioware don’t have the license – I for one can live without Dwarf-on-Orc romance options.

  17. Mr Chug says:

    Loath as I am to admit it, the Lord of the Rings mythos (powerful single characters fighting around hordes of enemies) is a natural fit to the MOBA format. Ridiculous pricing though.

    • Niko says:

      Except hobbits weren’t really powerful. At least when it came to fighting. Do you not see anything wrong with the roster of characters here who are supposed to be different, but more or less balanced overall?

      • mrtoad says:

        Did you ever read The Hobbit or LOTR? Bilbo goes beserk on the Mirkwood spiders, slaughtering dozens of them. Sam decisively disables Shelob. The 4 main hobbits help scour the shire of bandits in the end. Granted, hobbits weren’t the kind of elite fighters like those from Rohan and Gondor. And being a “killer” certainly wasn’t in their nature. But they are tough little buggers when cornered.

        I understand where you’re coming from in your “sauron is unrealistically equal in power to all the other heros” — but COMMON, if all the heros weren’t balanced, what fun would the game be to play? :)

        In the end, any video game set in middle-earth is going to break the lore. Heck, most pen and paper RPGs even will a little. Like some other have said, I personally think a moba in general is a good fit for the setting because there are lots of epic battles with little minions surrounded by larger-than-life heroes wading through the battlefield. And like many others have said, this should have been f2p. I’ll wait and see, if the reviews are decent I might buy the starter plau heros I like.

  18. sophof says:

    You can just envision the suits sitting in a dusty boardroom: “Free to play? Have you gone crazy!?”. Who cares what the competition is right, if you are going to copy a successful multiplayer game, everyone knows increasing the barrier of entry is super effective…

    I don’t know why I keep being amazed by such basic stupidity.

  19. Niko says:

    What next, a fighting game where a hobbit is a fully playable character and can kick a human warrior’s or troll’s ass?

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Next thing you tell me hobbits and women might kill mighty evil witch-warriors. Hah! Blatantly unrealistic!

    • Hatonastick says:

      LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) hobbit guardian anyone? :)

      • Tayh says:

        I had a hobbit burglar kill my 9k HP Warleader in less than 5 seconds once.

  20. Didden says:

    Wow, that image is such a rip off of the aliens posters. I mean, just photoshop some armor on top of it. Job done.
    http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTYzNzU5MzQ4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDcxNDg3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_.jpg

  21. rocketman71 says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play this. The first trailer was so fucking ridiculous that I only have contempt for this game.

  22. maximiZe says:

    Dead on arrival.

  23. dagudman says:

    I just want to see 2/3 of all mobas plummeting because they weren’t as successful as the companies thought they would be.

  24. Ephant says:

    The game was great on consoles but killed by the incompetent developers and the greedy publisher. Not releasing the game as F2P will kill it anyway.

  25. Oathbreaker says:

    Achievement!: You defeated Sauron! DING!

    This is about as worthy of RPS attention as the average LOTR ™ Sauron ™ lunchbox (pat.pend.).

  26. Timje says:

    Six maps at launch means this will be awful and tank. I expect it to have disappeared within a year.

    Going right back to Counterstrike’s de_dust and de_dust2, if you want to capture hardcore players (which are a MOBA’s lifeblood) you need to provide a very carefully balanced, miniscule set of maps.
    I’d say any company that tried to balance a MOBA for more than one map to begin with… simply doesn’t understand the genre. DOTA worked for years with one map. LoL has built its way up to what, 4 now? And only two of those offer more serious ranked play. How many maps did HON have at launch?

    • Phendron says:

      I like to equate a MOBA map to a carefully arranged court or field in any other sports game.

      You wouldn’t play basketball on an octagonal or figure 8 court, would you?

  27. fish99 says:

    That top shot look like the Giger xenomorph.

    • Kittim says:

      Absolutely right, hope they’re paying royalties to Giger!

      Just noticed they are owned by Time Warner. I bet 20th Century Fox would have a thing or two to say about that image :)

  28. Gomer says:

    The ground-breaking MOBA gameplay better not cause a tsunami or something. I have a meeting at 12 and the last thing I need is for there to be a jam on the freeway.

  29. RProxyOnly says:

    Moba is a genre that simply holds no appeal for me whatsoever… They all look so boring. Click, click, click, click, ad infinitum.

    • a hundred boners says:

      What genre, no, what game doesn’t involve clicking..? It’s okay being a simple person dude just say so

  30. Phendron says:

    When is Capcom going to make a MOBA? Or Quentin Taratino. Reservoir Dogs MOBA anyone?

    Mr. White OP pls nerf

  31. McTerry says:

    *sight*